If you love candles but are skeptical about lighting up just any old find, you're not alone. After receiving an insightful query from a member of the Hunker Design Club (join us!) regarding the best cruelty-free candles, we decided we needed to chat with a true expert — PETA Content Producer Tara DiMaio — who gave us the lowdown on all things cruelty-free candles.
Our first question: is there a difference between vegan and cruelty-free candles? "Surprisingly, there is!" explained DiMaio. Cruelty-free refers to a product that wasn't tested on animals, while vegan means it contains no animal products. Let's say a candle has beeswax but wasn't tested on a rabbit. It would be cruelty-free but not vegan. However, a soy candle not tested on rabbits checks both of those boxes. She also provided an excellent resource — Beauty Without Bunnies — a database that easily identifies a brand's status on animal testing.
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With all of this in mind, we rounded up 10 of our favorite candles that are verified cruelty-free. And bonus: none of them contain animal products of any sort. (Please note: Not all candles on this list are made in certified vegan facilities).
No one gets more creative or nostalgic with scents than Homesick does. The brand takes your favorite memory, home state, or dream tropical escape and packs it perfectly into a glass jar. Pick from nearly 200 cruelty-free, non-toxic blends. A few of our favorites include Tailgate, New Home, Grandma's Kitchen, and Latkes and Lights.
One of our favorite candle brands of the moment, L'or de Seraphine matches beautiful scents with equally beautiful packaging. Bring a little cheer to any room with this warming and woody collab with Cynthia Rowley. You can also score a larger version — coming in at a generous 17 ounces — for only $48.
This all-natural soy candle is an understated and effortlessly stylish pick. Between the kraft tube, letterpress label, and surrounding piece of twine, the packaging is almost as pretty as the candle itself. Oh, and it smells absolutely delightful.
We love bringing small doses of concrete indoors, and this ethically crafted candle allows you to do just that. DEHV's handmade products contain 100% natural non-GMO soy wax, lead-free cotton wicks, and top-quality essential oils. This simple candle would make a 10/10 gift for anyone in your life.
Raise your hand if you also think Otherland rocks. From the Core Collection to ever-changing seasonal favorites, the brand has gained quite a cult following. With stunning vessels made to be reused, Otherland does a whole lot of good for the planet. Save big when you buy a curated bundle of three or six.
Brooklyn-based brand D.S. & Durga is undeniably cool. Each candle has a detailed story and is made from 100% certified vegan ingredients. Whether inspired by a song, moment in time, particular human, or anything in between — each smell is highly specific and always intentional. A true work of art.
If you haven't smelled Votivo's classic Red Currant Candle, then it's time to reevaluate your whole life. Burning as we write this, Votivo's masterpiece fragrance infuses a collection of tart, sweet, and musky notes. The brand is also luxe to the max without the super-steep prices.
Who said cruelty-free options have to cost the big bucks? An earthy, subtly spicy collection of cedar, jasmine, amber, and oakmoss will instantly transport you to a cabin in the woods. For its compact size, this candle still manages to have a long burn life.
Follain is driven by the mission to bring clean ingredients to the forefront of our lives. The brand's original candle, Candle No. 1, mixes lavender, vanilla, sandalwood, and fresh bergamot, transforming any space into a haven of relaxation.
Le Labo is synonymous with luxury, and the unique, indulgent scent of Santal 26 is worth every penny. Individually hand-poured in Mississippi into the famous weighty glass containers, once you try Le Labo, we promise you'll be hooked for life.